: Songbird Story
: Family History Chapter
: The Diary
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"ÖThe historian must place greatest value upon primary sources. These may come in a variety of forms, from personal writings and every-day objects, to official documents and all works of art. A historian must learn to use and judge the sources, and from their information may weave a carpet of historical facts, created by the personal sentiments of each of his primary sourcesÖ"
Lothar Kaustriz, What is history?
Chapter One: The Diary
"Diaries are the most subjective of all sources [Ö] highly coloured by background and age [Ö] of the writer, we learn from them not as much historical fact, but what, if you will, common people, thought of these eventsÖ"
W. Peterson, Upon Historical Sources
September 30. 1964
Yesterday was my 10th birthday. It was a nice birthday, I got a cake with a sugar broomstick on it. The best thing about being 10 is that Iím going to Hogwarts next year, and that I got you from my sister Bellatrix. Youíre the best present I got this year, and not just because everything else I got is rubbish. It is though- Mother and Father gave me a necklace that Iím not allowed to wear until Iím older, and a dress Iím not supposed to wear except for Christmas. Auntie Hesteria gave me a set of hairpins made from Unicorn horns, and a mother-of-pearl hairbrush, which is the stupidest gift Iíve EVER gotten.
But I got you, diary, and youíre perfect. I suppose you donít really know what you look like, so I will tell you. Youíre smaller than a normal book, and bound in red linen, which is wonderful because red is my favorite color in the whole, wide world. And you have a beautiful picture of a quill, and ink, on the front. And on the first page, Bella wrote This is the diary of Andromeda Carys Black, and underneath: Blood and parchment are the safest places for secrets. Now you have someone to confide in while Iím at Hogwarts. Happy Birthday, Ada! And she had you charmed, so now no-one but me can open the pages (I tried it on Cissy, and it works), and if I leave you lying open, someone who isnít me wonít be able to read you, because their eyes will go all funny and hurt, they stop (I tried that on Milton, our house elf, and itís pretty creepy). Isnít that great? Sometimes I think Bella is the best sister in the world. I miss her so since she went to stupid Hogwarts this year. Anyway, Mother says we are going on a visit to Auntieís house in London, so I must go now.
October 1. My bed
I wish Bella didnít have to go to stupid Hogwarts. Itís so boring without her. Yesterday was awful. Sirius is nice, but heís only seven, just like Cissy, and they hate each other and keep getting in fights and you canít play properly then. They always were nice to each other when Bella was still here. Itís so boring without her. Yesterday Sirius kept pulling Cissyís hair and ruffling it and I remembered how Bella punched him in the face and told him sheíd lock him in the attic if he didnít play along. I wish I could do that. But Iíll just get in trouble for it. I slapped Cissy yesterday because she wouldnít play, but then she just went and told on me, and now Motherís locked me in my room. She says I canít come out until Iíve said sorry. But Iím not sorry. It was Cissyís own fault, as she wasnít playing along.
I wish Bella was here. This diary is nice and everything, but it canít punch Sirius in the face when heís being a prat.
Today Sirius and Regulus came to visit us here. In autumn when itís raining outside, Grimmauld Place is a much better place to play. Our house is boring, boring, boring. And we donít have toy broomsticks or wands or swords or anything. All we have are dolls, and Sirius wonít play with them because itís girly and dumb. I tried to make up one of Bellaís games, but Sirius wouldnít be the Muggle we had to kill, and then Mother came and yelled at us for building a fort out of my desk and lots of pillows, so sheís locked me in my room again, and says she canít understand why I canít behave more like a young lady, and worthy of my family.
Regulus has just come to visit me. Heís only two and a bit; he peeked though my door and wobbled towards me, and he laughed when I played peek-a-boo with this diary. I asked him what was going on downstairs, and he said Cissy was crying, Sirius was being yelled at, and Mother said she was going insane. I wish she would, it would be so interesting.
Nothing is happening here. Iíve taught Milton how to play cards, but itís stupid because he always lets me win, unless I command him not to, and then he always wins.
And then I asked Cissy to play ball with me, and she said she would in a moment, but when I checked where she was twenty minutes later she was still combing her stupid dollís hair.
Today I was looking out of the attic window and saw some boys from the village fishing in the stream behind our house. It looked so fun. I actually asked Mother if I could join them. She yelled at me and told me I was lacking wizard pride, whatever that means, and shut me in my room AGAIN.
Iím sorry I havenít been writing, but I was looking at all the beautiful blank parchment pages, and decided it was a shame to fill them with stupid waffle about being locked in my room, and how I hate my brainless sister Narcissa Airhead Black. So I waited for something exciting to happen, and here it is! Itís almost Christmas, and Bellaís coming home tomorrow! Iím so excited! Tomorrow, weíre picking her up from the Hogwarts Express, and then weíre going straight to Diagon and Knockturn Alley for Christmas shopping. Iím giving Cissy the stupid hairbrush I got from Auntie for Christmas, sheíll never know the difference. And I donít know what Iím buying Bella yet, but it should be something wonderful, because she is so wonderful. I want a cat for Christmas. I told Mother it was the only thing in the world I wanted, and I hope Iím getting one. Itís the closest to getting a friend for Christmas, and I would love to have a friend.
My bed (itís very late!)
Everyone is so happy to see Bella again. You should see the fuss they make over her, patting her hair giving her little presents (even though itís Christmas three days from now, and telling her sheíll live up to the family name and all. This was at Auntieís Family Christmas Tea today, which was not as bad as usual because Bella was back. We were all forced to wash everywhere, especially behind the ears and neck, and then we had to put on stupid new dress-robes and put stupid satin bows into our hair. I hate being a girl.
But we played at Auntieís house, and Bella made up this great new game about saving Hogwarts from Muggles who wanted to invade it, and it was wonderful, until Mother found us and told us to come downstairs so all our a million year old Aunties could pet us, and give us slobbery kisses and tell us how much weíve grown. But Bella kept making faces behind their backs, and then she tripped Kreacher, who was carrying a plate with eclairs, and all the chocolate cream spilled over Auntie Aramintaís huge bottom. It was so funny!
I didnít see Uncle Alphard at the party. Heís Fatherís brother and my favorite relative, except for Sirius and Regulus of course. He has a funny beard that tickles when you hug him, and he always lifts us up and turns us upside down to make us laugh. I donít think Father and Auntie like him very much, but I do, and it was sad not to see him.
When we came home, Mother made us go straight to bed. I thought that was sad,í cause I havenít talked to Bella at all since she came home. So I sneaked out of bed in my nighty and tiptoed across the hall into her room.
"Iím the ghost of Greya, come to haunt you and bite your toes!" Bella didnít even smile. That was strange. Didnít she remember how we invented the ghost of Greya to scare Cissy and Sirius last Christmas? She did, however, make some room in her bed so I could stick my cold feet under her covers. And, diary, it was so strange. We couldnít think of anything to say to each other. I knew all about Hogwarts, from her letters and from what sheíd told the family; and I didnít have anything interesting to tell, did I? Then I remembered something.
"Bella, whereíd you reckon Uncle Alphard was today?"
She made a face and said, in a very serious voice, "I heard Auntie telling Great-Aunt Prewett heís been disowned. That means heís not family anymore."
"What does that mean, not family anymore? And what did he do?"
"It means that heís not a Black anymore. He canít come to family meetings, and the family wonít help him anymore. Do you know, how we have our money at Gringotts and Uncle Dorian can get it out whenever we want it, even if Gringotts is closed? And how we can pay in shops just by saying "It stays in the family" and that means they can get it from Uncle Dorian later?" I nodded. "He canít do that anymore. And if he gets in trouble, the family wonít get him out." It didnít seem all that bad to me. Family Meetings are terribly boring, with all the grownups drinking mead and talking about Mudbloods, and having to sit still while wearing your scratchiest silk dress robes.
"But Bella, why? Whatís he done?"
"He married a Muggle." The way Bella said it, it might have meant Ďkilled someoneí.
"IsÖis that a very bad thing?" I asked in a small voice.
"Bad? Itís the worst thing in the world! Ada, look, heís ignoring the family name and wasting his blood. You know the family tree in Auntieís house that says "Toujours Pur"? Thatís what the Blacks are about, purebloods only. And when youíre a Black, you canít just ignore the family tradition. You have to follow it!" She threw away her hair, looking like a princess, or a goddess. "Uncle Alphard is a blood traitor. He didnít follow the family tradition, and he betrayed us Blacks. I donít ever want to see him again!"
Iím lying in my bed, and itís very late, dear diary, and I think I will go to sleep now, instead of thinking of this blood traitor business. But I do think itís sad Uncle Alphard wonít come and play horsies with us anymore.
December 25. (Christmas!)
Merry Christmas, dear Diary!
I got my kitten! Heís the sweetest thing, all white and fluffy, with a tiny pink tongue and the perfectest, tiniest little teeth. He was actually hidden in my stocking this fast asleep, and I was so happy. He purrs when I stroke him and loves being scratched behind the ears. Iíve named in Whizz, because he looks just like a Fizzing Whizzbie. Oh, dear diary, I think I might be in love!
Bella keeps saying that I shouldnít cuddle Whizz all the time, and I should stop carrying him around. She says cats are tough and wild animals, not like bunny rabbits. "But look at him!" I said. "How could I not cuddle him?" Whizz stretched his tiny little mouth and yawned, and I kissed him on his pink, perfect nose. Bella just snorted, she doesnít like Whizz, and she thinks Iím being stupid and fussy about him. We went to Auntieís house for a feast today, and she as good as ignored me. I didnít really mind, because Iíd brought Whizz along, and because Sirius has a new broomstick (a Shooting Starlet 23), and he let all of us ride it. Bella really wanted to try it, I could tell, but instead she was all huffy about how she got to ride a real broomstick, not a toy one, and how one of her friends is on the Slytherin Quidditch team. I reminded her that she said first-years arenít allowed on the team.
Sheís been ignoring me ever since, and she keeps poking and hitting me when the grown-ups arenít looking, and I know better than to tell tales. I hate fighting with Bella, and not just cause sheís my sister, but also because itís not healthy. You never know what may happen. I remember when I was five I accidentally dropped one of her dolls (it didnít even break!) and she put maggots in my dinner, and pins in my bed. It was awful.
Bella and I sort of made up again. I was coming from breakfast and saw her petting Whizz, who was asleep on my bed. She jumped when she saw me, and called Whizz a "flea bag" but itís her way of saying sorry.
There was another party at Auntieís today, not just family this time, so I wasnít allowed to bring Whizz. There were some kids there that Bella knew from Hogwarts, some girls and a tall, mean-looking boy called Rudolphus, who kept laughing at everything I said, and looking at me like I was a bowl of throw-up. Sirius had some other little boys to play with, and they all didnít want me either, and Cissy was happy sitting on Auntieís lap and being fussed over. I was getting bored, but then Regulus wobbled over to me. "Siwius says I cawnít pway," he informed me. "And Mummy said I should go pway. Wanna pway, Ada?" I made up a pretty good game about being in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, but I donít think he got it. After a while we just cuddled in our little corner. Regulus smells of bar soap and toy broomsticks, and heís very cute. "Youíre nice, Ada. Not like Bewwa. Bewwaís mean." "Bellaís not mean!" I said. I mean sheís not. Maybe sheís not all soft and you canít cuddle her, like me, especially not Regulus, but sheís not mean.
"I think sheís mean!" Sirius said from behind me. He had a black eye and was hiding from Auntie, I could tell. Itís the same thing at each of Auntieís parties- he hits someoneís son, and then he gets in trouble for it.
"Bellaís not mean! And things are so much more fun when sheís here. At least weíre not bored all the time!" I said again. I have to defend my sister, right? But I kind of know what Sirius means. Bellaís always really short with him, and she yells at him a lot. And Bella can be scary when youíre small and sheís angry. But sheís my sister!! And no-oneís allowed to call her mean while Iím around, not even Sirius.
Donít care what day it is
I hate Bellatrix Black. I hate her, I hate her, I hate her. Iím running away because I canít stand being in a house with her, because I hate her so much.
I hate her. I hate her. I hate her.
There, Iíve written it. And I donít care that itís an awful thing to say.
Today is the worst day of all my life. And now the inkís running and you can hardly read what I wrote because Iím crying so hard again.
The Worst Day of my Life, December 29 1964
I floo'ed over to Auntieís house, but she brought me back home. And Iíve locked myself in my room because I donít want to speak a word to Bella ever again in my WHOLE LIFE, ever again. Iím in so much trouble, for flooing all by myself, and for running away, and for hitting Bella and yelling at her, but I donít care, I donít care, I donít care. They can lock me in this room forever, or at least until I have to go to Hogwarts, and then Iíll get sorted into GRYFFINDOR and run off with that Mr. Blood traitor Dumbledore, and thatíll serve them right.
I think I should write down what happened. Anyone can see how horrible Bella is, if I write it down.
It all started with Uncle Alphard. Bella and I were playing Gobstones, with the beautiful emeralds-and-silver set she got for Christmas (Iíve never had a set of Gobstones that were that nice. I just have the boring old glass kind, and theyíre running out of Stinksap. But I didnít get new ones, no, Mother just said I could use Bellaís old ones. Thatís another reason why I hate her: she always gets new things, and I never do.) I said, "I donít think itís very bad, what Uncle Alphard did. Marrying the Muggle, I mean. Maybe sheís very pretty, or can bake extra-good cakeÖ"
Of course Bella just got started on me being an embarrassment to the family, and not having wizard pride, and how we had to honor the noble House of Black and so on, and so forth. Then Whizz came along, and I reached for him and started cuddling him. Bella looked at us like we were throw-up, just like that Rudolphus did at the party, and said: "See? You donít have a tiny ounce of proper wizarding pride. No real wizard would ever cuddle up with a stupid, boring cat that doesnít even have magical properties."
"Whizz isnít boring, and heís not stupid!" I said angrily, kissing his nose. "And Iím sure he has magical properties. He just hasnít shown them yet, because heís so small."
Bella laughed in a really mean way, and said: "Thatís a Muggle cat, Ada, I can tell."
"Prove it!" There was something in Bellaís eyes that was so mean when she said it. But I wanted to show her. I wanted to show her that I was right about Whizz, and that she was wrong. So I asked her how to prove it, and she said that cats always land on all four feet when they fall down somewhere, and if Whizz was magical, heíd be able to, even if he fell down somewhere really high. I feel so stupid, now, for letting her talk me into it. But I wanted to show her! And Whizz could have made it, I know it, because heís fallen off my bed twice, and itís a bunk bed, and he ALWAYS landed on his feet. ButÖitís so awful.
We all went to the first landing of the staircase, and Bella said to drop him down from there.
And I did. I kissed him on the nose and whispered "Make me proud, Whizzie," and dropped him.
And he fell. And he would have landed on her feet, but then Bella got out her wand and called "Wingardium Leviosa!" and did something to Whizz, and he justÖcrashed.
And there was blood everywhere and he wasnít moving. And then Bella said "I told you so", and Cissy started crying. And I ran down andÖandÖandÖhis eyes were closed and his perfect white fur was all bloody andÖhe was dead. He wasnít breathing he wasnít moving. I kept waiting for him to open his eyes and yawn, like he always did, but he didnítÖhe didnítÖand heíll never. Never again. And heíll never run after Cissyís hair again, and never lick my nose again, and never purr like heís swallowed a Secrecy Sensor. I was going to teach him tricks. I was going to pretend he was a lion and make a Circus, and Sirius could be a clown but I canít now. I canít now.
This is the worst day of my life, EVER. Iíve never been so sad before. Only sad isnít the right word, I need a bigger word then sad. A word that means crying-until-Iím dried-up-like-a-shrivelfig. A word that means never-going-to-smile-again. A word that means what I feel like now. A word that means that Whizz is dead.
And itís all Bellaís fault, because she killed him. And I started yelling at her, and tried to hit her, and bite her, even. And then Mother came and yelled at me, but I hardly even heard it, I was crying so hard.
I still am.
But the point is, I HATE BELLATRIX! She killed Whizz. Iím never going to be nice to her again in my whole life, and Iím never going to be her sister again. EVER. Iím never going to play with her, even if itís a really good game. Iím never going to give her my sweets. Iím never going to play cards, and the next time she makes fun of Cissy, I wonít laugh. Because Bellatrix Black is NOT my sister anymore, because I hate her.
I canít really use this diary anymore, because she gave it to me. Iím going to keep it, and when Iím older, Iíll take the charms off and show them to everyone, so they can all see what she did to Whizz. And then theyíll know sheís bad. Theyíll know.